These monographs were, he explains, an exercise in “pragmatic history, an attempt to shed some light on the history of this fascinating place, from a scholar’s perspective.”
And at a certain point, “it became kind of fun,” Boyer admits.
Now, as the University prepares , the University of Chicago Press is set to release Boyer’s , which knits together his years of research and offers new perspectives on the women and men who created and sustained the institution. Boyer chronicled UChicago’s history even while adding his own distinguished chapter to that legacy, with an unprecedented five terms as dean of the College and 23 years of service in that role so far.
“The ABC of our profession,” the French historian Marc Bloch once observed, “is to avoid these large abstract terms in order to try to discover behind them the only concrete realities, which are human beings.”
Boyer’s research revealed the ebb and flow of recurring themes in the University’s history: debate around student life and the rigor of the undergraduate experience, the challenges of maintaining financial stability, and efforts to engage more deeply with the surrounding community and the city.
But his book is also a study of people and personalities, and an exploration of presidential leadership—from the University’s innovative and determined first president, William Rainey Harper, to the cautious Harry Pratt Judson to the pragmatic realist Lawrence Kimpton.
Among the University’s leaders, one figure stands out: “If you were to ask me who is the most fascinating character in the book, it’s clearly Hutchins,” Boyer says.
Wunderkind Robert Maynard Hutchins was only 30 when he became president in 1929. He showed little patience for the slow pace of institutional change. Under more than two decades of leadership that spanned the tumultuous 1930s and ‘40s—and sometimes over the vocal opposition of the faculty—Hutchins made sweeping changes to the administrative structure of the College, creating a decentralized institution with five distinct academic divisions. He also instituted the “New Plan,” an overhaul of the undergraduate program that included five year-long general education courses.
“I sometimes get the sense that Hutchins got up in the morning and said, ‘How can I drive the faculty up the wall? What can I do today?’” Boyer says. “And a great leader has to have that quality, to push boundaries and challenge the faint of heart, to exert a kind of natural leadership—Hutchins had all of that in spades.”
To the surprise of many colleagues, Boyer chose to start The University of Chicago: A History欧美观看免费全部完,女朋友太紧根本进不去,午夜男女爽爽影院,67194免费观看网站 with the story of the first University of Chicago—an institution that, in Boyer’s words “collapsed in penury and embarrassment” in 1886, less than 30 years after its founding. Harper and a small cadre of believers, including fundraiser-in-chief Thomas Goodspeed, resurrected the University in 1890 after a long, anxiety-ridden struggle to raise money and recruit faculty.
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